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Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek
Overview

Kyrgyzstan, BishkekBishkek is the capital and the largest city of Kyrgyzstan. The economy in Bishkek is primarily agricultural with the mass amounts of fruits, vegetables and livestock providing a co-existing system of bartering in the outlying regions.

Kyrgyzstan is in Central Asia, west of China. The climate is dry continental to polar in the high Tien Shan Mountains, subtropical in the southwest (Fergana Valley) and temperate in the northern foothill zone.

The official languages are Kyrgyz and Russian. Kyrgyz is dominant in state circles and is more widely used in the south and in rural areas. Russian is preferred by most business partners are. Non-Russians will not be offended by the use of Russian, but Kyrgyz contacts will be impressed if a foreigner uses their language. The Cyrillic alphabet is commonly used for public notices, including road signs and street names. English is used In business circles and in the government. Hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners usually have some English-speakers. Interpreters are readily available, but they are not always professional, their knowledge should be properly tested before important meetings. The main religions are Islam and Christianity.

The economy of Kyrgyzstan was severely affected by the collapse of the Soviet trading block. Despite the backing of major Western lenders, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Kyrgyzstan has had economic difficulties following independence. Agriculture is an important sector of the economy in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is rich in mineral resources but has negligible petroleum and natural gas reserves.

Kyrgyz society is relatively conservative, expatriates should take care to avoid appearing arrogant or dismissive of local customs or habits. Expatriate business dress is conservative, comprising suits. Businesswomen are expected to dress conservatively to avoid offending Islamic sensibilities, especially in rural and more conservative areas in the south.

The security risk for expatriates in Kyrgyzstan is medium to high. Risks include petty crime, socio-economic and ethnic unrest, tensions between the south and north, corruption, and landmines in some areas bordering Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Other risks include poor driving standards and road conditions, poor infrastructure, avalanches, landslides, and earthquakes.

The currency of Kyrgyzstan is the Kyrgyzstanian Som (KGS).

Medical facilities are not generally comparable to those of Western Europe and North America. Anthrax has been reported.

The population of Bishkek is 937,400 (2019 est.), while the inflation rate (CPI) is 2.6% for Kyrgyzstan as at October 2019.

Xpatulator Hypothetical Tax for Kyrgyzstan is based on the current personal income tax rate which is a flat rate of 10%.


Cost Of Living

The cost of living for expatriates / professional migrants in Bishkek as at 1 November 2019 is very low in comparison to other places in the world.

We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Bishkek is as follows:
1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$400. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$5.02, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$0.86, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$1.02 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$1.02.
2) Clothing: for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$820. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$36, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$67, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$63 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$34.
3) Communication: for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$148. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$17, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.03 per minute.
4) Education: for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30000 in New York costs USD$21600. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$14,035 for Primary School, and USD$15,618 for High School.
5) Furniture & Appliances: for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2500 in New York costs USD$1650. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$632, and USD$542 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV.
6) Groceries: for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$380. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$1.12, 1 kg oranges USD$1.71, 1 head lettuce USD$0.56, 1 kg potatos USD$0.29, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$3.73, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$6.71, 1 dozen large eggs USD$1.17, 500g loaf white bread USD$0.32, 1 L full cream milk USD$0.67, and 1.5 L water USD$0.46.
7) Healthcare: for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$580. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$47, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,437.
8) Household Accommodation: for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5000 in New York costs USD$2900. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,220 in a central location, and USD$1,306 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities.
9) Miscellaneous: for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$540. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$10.54, while an international newspaper is USD$3.24.
10) Personal Care: for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$425. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$34, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$169.
11) Recreation & Culture: for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$260. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$3.59, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$38 per month.
12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$310. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$1.72, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$0.40, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$3.59, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$16.54.
13) Transport: for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$470. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$0.63, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$16,829.

Bishkek is -40.3% cheaper than Houston TX for groceries, 35.9% more expensive for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and -20.8% cheaper for transport costs than Dubai.

Bishkek is ranked as a extreme hardship location.

The hardship premium for Bishkek for an expat from Perth, is for example 30%, i.e. host location (Bishkek) premium of 40% minus home (Perth) location premium of 10%.

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